The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, comes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and will discuss religious intolerance. “His coming is a warning: We are here and we are not alone. It is a relief visit.” That is the statement from Mother Rita of Oya, from Ilê Axé Oya Yamim Axé Bangboxe.
She added: “The most gratifying thing for us is to discover that we have a king, and that he comes to hear us and ask our rulers what is happening to his people, who suffer aggression, verbal insults, and stoned.”
Rio de Janeiro reported a 56 percent increase in cases of religious intolerance compared to the first quarter of 2017, according to the Secretariat of State for Human Rights and Policies for Women and the Elderly (SEDHMI). Recently, a terreiro in Nova Iguaçu was invaded, depredated and burned. For Marcio D’Jagun, president of the State Council for Defense and Promotion of Religious Freedom, the coming of Ooni gives visibility to the subject:
“In the wide range of human rights subjects, the least developed and enlightened subject to the population is religious intolerance. His coming gives us the possibility of discussing; discussing the seriousness of the facts. Affirmative action has to be strategic, diffusing the problem.
“The visit of the Ooni to Brazil is to reconnect and reunite Afro-descendants, whose decade began in 2015 and goes until 2024, according to UNESCO. Besides religious intolerance, another topic discussed will be the financial exclusion of Blacks in Brazil.”
Ooni will arrive Rio on June 10, 2018, before he goes to Salvador and Belo Horizonte. He will be accompanied by an entourage of 150 people, including intellectuals, businessmen and politicians. They will be welcomed by religious leaders, politicians and researchers. One of them will be the historian and writer, Alberto da Costa e Silva, member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.
Ooni has a special meaning for the strong spiritual presence of the Yoruba in the life of the Brazilians. This visit strengthens the concept that Africans were not barbarians. They brought with them values and techniques – emphasizes the immortal. He is a direct descendant of Oduduwa, responsible for the creation of the world, according to the tradition of the Yoruba.
According to one of the stories of the tradition, Oduduwa received from Oludumare, the supreme God, the responsibility to create the world. The creation began in the city of Ilê-Ifé. Since the establishment of the Yoruba kingdom in the world, the throne has been occupied by its descendants, explained the professor of culture of the UFRJ, Carlos Henrique Veloso.
The History teacher from Africa Monica Lima stressed the political importance of Ooni of Ife:
“He’s the ultimate spiritual and political leader of that city. Even if the political leader is from another religion, the religious and political authority of Ooni of Ifé is sovereign and recognized. He dialogues with other figures from the local cultural world.”
Oba Ogunwusi rose to the throne of Oduduwa in 2015. Since then, he has made visits to countries including United States, Canada, Ghana and United Kingdom.
On arrival in Rio de Janeiro, he will be honored in the bust of Zumbi dos Palmares, at the opening of the Brazil-Nigeria Culture and Business Fair in Terreirão do Samba. He will participate in an award ceremony at Alerj, and gives a speech at the Municipal Theater.
Day 12, Ooni will participate in a ceremony at the Valongo Pier, at 10am. He will meet leaders of the religions of African matrices, at the João Caetano Theater. Then, at 5:00 pm, will be received at the Brazilian Academy of Letters by Ambassador Alberto da Costa e Silva.
On the last day in Rio, Ooni will be received at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), at 8:30 am, at the opening of the Brazil – Nigeria Colloquium. He will also be in Inter-religious prayer for the city of Rio at 11:30 am at Christ the Redeemer. At 8:30 p.m., he participate in Rio’s farewell in Terreirão do Samba.